To The Editor:

Wednesday’s “Opinion & Commentary” was a real doozy! Republicans have not only grown horns and a pointy red tail, but they also hate Americans and want granny to die in the street.

Where to begin? How about some facts, that’s always a nice start. Government means-tested welfare programs, which exclude Social Security and Welfare, but do include at least 80 other means-tested programs, now cost taxpayers right at $1 trillion per year.

Means-tested programs provide: cash, food, housing, medical care and various social services to over 100 million Americans, representing a third of our 313 million person population. These programs are run by bureaucrats — not Republicans, not Democrats — faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats with OPM (Other People’s Money). And for those keeping count, these programs have grown 33 percent under Obama’s Hope and Change odyssey.

Let’s remember that this whole notion of giving people fish instead of fishhooks, began under LBJ and his “War on Poverty.” Again, for anyone who is keeping score, we have now spent $20 trillion on this war that keeps taking. The number of U.S. residents living in poverty now exceeds 46.5 million or 15 percent of all Americans. And even though well-meaning politicians have redistributed trillions of our tax dollars, poverty in America has gotten worse, not better. On second blush, some of the politicians are not well meaning. They want to stay in power and they do it by buying votes with your money. This makes them more a Hood than a Robin.

So, maybe money and empathy are not the answers. Maybe, just maybe, giving a person a fish instead of a fishhook addicts that person to free fish and helps him decide to sell the tackle box and fishing rod. Any chance this has been happening since the ’60s?

My kids, when the time comes, will pay for their own stuff. They will pay their own way, not because my wife and I hate our children, but because we love them. We know that if they pay for their own food, housing, car, gas, cellphone, ecetera, they will grow up to value money, work, independence and know the satisfaction of self-reliance.

Let me do my best to wrap up, as Bernie thinks I say in a thousand words what could best be said in a hundred. The greatest strides known to civilization have come from free markets and capitalism, whether it be by the innovations of Steven Jobs or Henry Ford. Some of the darkest days the world has ever known can be laid at the feet of progressives like John Maynard Keynes and intellectual giants like Hugo Chavez. Giving other people’s hard-earned money to someone who didn’t earn it doesn’t make you empathetic or socially sensitive or compassionate, but it does make you dangerously misguided. Income disparity is a fact of life. We may all start at the same time, but we most certainly won’t cross the finish line at the same time.

Vive la différence!